Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

General forum on Mahayana.

Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby Sara H » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:24 am

Piety noun

In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue that can mean religious devotion, spirituality, or a combination of both. A common element in most conceptions of piety is humility.
Etymology

The word piety comes from the Latin word pietas, the noun form of the adjective pius (which means "devout" or "good"). Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man with pietas respected his responsibilities to gods, country, parents, and kin.

-From wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piety

Filial Piety

Respect for and responsibility to care for one's parents.


How important is Piety to you?

In Buddhist terms a person who has pietas and practices piety could be interpreted as someone who respects his responsibilities to the Three Treasures, (inlcuding support for the Sangha and monks), responsibility to care for one's country that one lives in, responsibility to care for one's parents, as well as being responsible to care for and support one's family and children.

How important is piety in your life?

How do you view responsibility and practice.

Do good for others is the third Pure Precept.

How does Piety, filial piety, and Pietas fit into that for you?

In Judaism and Christianity, one of the Ten Commandments is to Honor your father and your mother. Lee et al. argue that filial piety is rarely practiced in the Western world and most children from a Judeo-Christian background do not honor and care for parents to the extent of those from Eastern backgrounds. They contend that in Western cultures, the individual is more important than the family, and when an elderly parent becomes a burden to an adult child, his/her needs to be burden-free supersede any feeling of obligation to care for the parent.
-from wikipedia on filial piety http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filial_piety

In Gassho,

Sara H.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:28 pm

Filial piety as it exists in many Asian societies, while not a bad thing per se, I do not personally see as a central part of Buddhism. As far as I know it is a Confucian notion.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2913
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:02 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Filial piety as it exists in many Asian societies, while not a bad thing per se, I do not personally see as a central part of Buddhism. As far as I know it is a Confucian notion.


It's pretty central to the Buddhadhamma:
{II,iv,2} "I tell you, monks, there are two people who are not easy to repay. Which two? Your mother & father. Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder & your father on the other shoulder for 100 years, and were to look after them by anointing, massaging, bathing, & rubbing their limbs, and they were to defecate & urinate right there [on your shoulders], you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. If you were to establish your mother & father in absolute sovereignty over this great earth, abounding in the seven treasures, you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world. But anyone who rouses his unbelieving mother & father, settles & establishes them in conviction; rouses his unvirtuous mother & father, settles & establishes them in virtue; rouses his stingy mother & father, settles & establishes them in generosity; rouses his foolish mother & father, settles & establishes them in discernment: To this extent one pays & repays one's mother & father."


Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an02/an02.031.than.html
Khalil Bodhi
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 10:09 am

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:12 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:Filial piety as it exists in many Asian societies, while not a bad thing per se, I do not personally see as a central part of Buddhism. As far as I know it is a Confucian notion.


It's pretty central to the Buddhadhamma:
{II,iv,2} "I tell you, monks, there are two people who are not easy to repay. Which two? Your mother & father. Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder & your father on the other shoulder for 100 years, and were to look after them by anointing, massaging, bathing, & rubbing their limbs, and they were to defecate & urinate right there [on your shoulders], you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. If you were to establish your mother & father in absolute sovereignty over this great earth, abounding in the seven treasures, you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world. But anyone who rouses his unbelieving mother & father, settles & establishes them in conviction; rouses his unvirtuous mother & father, settles & establishes them in virtue; rouses his stingy mother & father, settles & establishes them in generosity; rouses his foolish mother & father, settles & establishes them in discernment: To this extent one pays & repays one's mother & father."


Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an02/an02.031.than.html


How is the above the same as the Confucian notion of filial piety? Certainly with the manifestations of the Confucian version I don't see alot of kids "rousing their foolish mothers and fathers in discernment". In fact with the Confucian notions as they typically play, they usually are encouraged to NOT do anything of the sort.

Notice, I didn't say piety towards ones parents in general wasn't Buddhadharma, I said some Asian cultural notions of filial piety IMO (and there is pretty good historical evidence for it) are not the same as Buddhism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filial_piety

Look straight on the wiki and some of what i'm saying is pretty well spelled out.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2913
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:00 pm

Guess I misunderstood your point. My apologies.
Khalil Bodhi
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 10:09 am

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:03 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Guess I misunderstood your point. My apologies.


No problem, just wanted to clarify, in a general sense for sure I think it's important.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2913
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby LastLegend » Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:12 pm

Buddha was very filial that he preached Dharma to his parents after his enlightenment.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Linjii
―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 2367
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:11 pm

In the Seven Point Cause and Effect Instruction we are supposed to view all sentient beings as our mothers. So it would seem that a preference for the parents of this life could be an obstacle towards developing an unbiased love and compassion for all beings recognizing them as our mothers.

Definitely we need to show respect to our parents and help them whenever possible, I am not denying that. But I think Confucian notions of filial piety might not always be in line with the equanimity we need to develop in order to have the realization of compassion according to Mahayana Buddhism.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2327
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:17 pm

JKhedrup wrote:In the Seven Point Cause and Effect Instruction we are supposed to view all sentient beings as our mothers. So it would seem that a preference for the parents of this life could be an obstacle towards developing an unbiased love and compassion for all beings recognizing them as our mothers.


I think its natural to have preference for parents. Without parents, there are no children and no children to practice Buddhadharma. If one cannot have love for parents, then how can he have love for other sentient beings? Then I think it makes sense that love should start at home and extend to all.

Definitely we need to show respect to our parents and help them whenever possible, I am not denying that. But I think Confucian notions of filial piety might not always be in line with the equanimity we need to develop in order to have the realization of compassion according to Mahayana Buddhism.


What are Confucian notions of filial piety that you refer to?
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Linjii
―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 2367
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:24 pm

My book on Confucianism is back in Canada.

But, it didn't take much googling to find a statement of Confucius on filial piety that I think is adharma:

Confucius says: "The upright men in my community are different from this. Fathers conceal the misconduct of their sons and sons conceal the misconduct of their fathers. Uprightness is just to be found in such mutual concealment" (Liu, p.234).


Read more: http://www.bukisa.com/articles/145839_f ... z2J0cMB2bT
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2327
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:44 pm

I think it's an ethical dilemma that forces one to take side with family members. It seems natural to do so and realistic.

According to Confucianism, to be a complete human one has to have:

Rén (仁, Humaneness)
Yì (義, Righteousness or Justice)
Lǐ (禮, Propriety or Etiquette)
Zhì (智, Knowledge)
Xìn (信, Integrity).

If one betrays his family members even though his family members have done wrong, he therefore lacks Ren, Yi, Li, Zhi, and Xin for his family members. On the other hand, he has Ren, Yi, Li, Zhi, and Xin for baring witness against his father.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Linjii
―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 2367
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:15 pm

JKhedrup wrote:So it would seem that a preference for the parents of this life could be an obstacle towards developing an unbiased love and compassion for all beings recognizing them as our mothers.

IMHO this is a most agonizing point but it's quite correct. It's quite easy to extend compassion to my family members (sometimes!) but not for my neighbors on the other side of the tracks. Why? When I examine myself honestly I realize I could care less about most other sentient beings. This isn't acceptable.
Karma Dondrup Tashi
 
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 pm

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:24 pm

It is a really tough point. I feel very close to my parents.
So the way I try to cultivate it is extend that love and respect to all sentient beings. If I just slot it under filial piety and don't try to make it vast it won't be transformative.
That's the brilliance of the 7 Point Instruction, it allows us to transform a natural love and regard for parents into an unbiased love and compassion for all beings. I think that's way beyond what Confucius proposed.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2327
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:30 pm

LastLegend wrote:I think it's an ethical dilemma that forces one to take side with family members. It seems natural to do so and realistic.

According to Confucianism, to be a complete human one has to have:

Rén (仁, Humaneness)
Yì (義, Righteousness or Justice)
Lǐ (禮, Propriety or Etiquette)
Zhì (智, Knowledge)
Xìn (信, Integrity).

If one betrays his family members even though his family members have done wrong, he therefore lacks Ren, Yi, Li, Zhi, and Xin for his family members. On the other hand, he has Ren, Yi, Li, Zhi, and Xin for baring witness against his father.


There are also some really ugly sides to this. Undeniably in some cultures that subscribe to Filial piety on the extreme end it can be seen as OK to let people starve in the gutter as long as they are not one's family and seemingly in some instances can discourage cultivation of real altruism.

For all the things to be criticized about the west, the idea of fundamental rights and dignity (no matter how inverted by a belief in really existing individuals) is preferable to me as a Buddhist (though i'm not saying by any means the West practices what it preaches) than any idea of filial piety. At least the idea of this on some level jives with Buddhism. I feel like Confucian ideas about societal and familial harmony often run contrary to some aspects of Dharma.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2913
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby LastLegend » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:59 pm

I think Confucius and Confucianism are misunderstood here. If he is a really man of 5 Humanism, he would not be stealing in the first place. The son conceals his father's offense is merely an extreme case where it's natural for one to side with his family members. To me, this seems realistic because I don't have enough Wisdom to see or resolve the situation without hurting anyone. But I guess as a Buddhist, as a son I would convince my father to stop stealing...I don't think Confucius support stealing or any form of offense as his basic teaching is the 5 Humanism.

Keep in mind that Confucius advocated Zhi (Wisdom/brightness/ability to recognize truths, right from wrong is how I understand it). This is to say one should not follow filial piety or anything blindly. Buddha would cry if he knows his followers practice without using right thinking or view to do the right things.

5 Humanism
Rén (仁, Humaneness)
Yì (義, Righteousness or Justice)
Lǐ (禮, Propriety or Etiquette)
Zhì (智, Knowledge)
Xìn (信, Integrity).

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-101530199.html

Case 2. The Duke of She tells Confucius: "In my country there is an upright man. When his father stole a sheep, he bore witness against him." Confucius says: "The upright men in my community are different from this. Fathers conceal the misconduct of their sons and sons conceal the misconduct of their fathers. Uprightness is just to be found in such mutual concealment" (Analects 13:18). It is obvious that Confucius himself also admits stealing a sheep to be an offense. The question then is: why does he still think that it is not upright for a son to give evidence against his father but rather upright for fathers and sons to conceal each other's misconduct?
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Linjii
―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 2367
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:21 am

You have a point.

I have a bit of an aversion to Confucianism. Although I feel great affinity with much of Chinese Buddhism, the Confucian aspects contained within it are I think what made me in the end decide not to pursue it further. Just declaring my bias here.

Taoism, on the other hand, is fascinating.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2327
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:15 am

JKhedrup wrote:But, it didn't take much googling to find a statement of Confucius on filial piety that I think is adharma:

Confucius says: "The upright men in my community are different from this. Fathers conceal the misconduct of their sons and sons conceal the misconduct of their fathers. Uprightness is just to be found in such mutual concealment" (Liu, p.234).



This one takes the cake (from Liji 禮記):

曲禮上:
父之讎,弗與共戴天。兄弟之讎不反兵。交游之讎不同國。

Qu Li I:
With the enemy who has slain his father, he should not live under the same sky. With the enemy who has slain his brothers, he does not even return home to retrieve his weapons. With the enemy who has slain his good friend, he does not live in the same country.


This is sanctioning violent revenge. Confucianism also condones and encourages animal sacrifice which is still practised in places like Taiwan today.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5972
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Taiwan

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:18 am

LastLegend wrote:According to Confucianism, to be a complete human one has to have:

Rén (仁, Humaneness)
Yì (義, Righteousness or Justice)
Lǐ (禮, Propriety or Etiquette)
Zhì (智, Knowledge)
Xìn (信, Integrity).

If one betrays his family members even though his family members have done wrong, he therefore lacks Ren, Yi, Li, Zhi, and Xin for his family members. On the other hand, he has Ren, Yi, Li, Zhi, and Xin for baring witness against his father.


Those virtues entail sacrificing animals and exacting vengeance against anyone who would harm your family.

There is nothing Buddhist about that.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5972
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Taiwan

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby LastLegend » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:47 am

Huseng wrote:
LastLegend wrote:According to Confucianism, to be a complete human one has to have:

Rén (仁, Humaneness)
Yì (義, Righteousness or Justice)
Lǐ (禮, Propriety or Etiquette)
Zhì (智, Knowledge)
Xìn (信, Integrity).

If one betrays his family members even though his family members have done wrong, he therefore lacks Ren, Yi, Li, Zhi, and Xin for his family members. On the other hand, he has Ren, Yi, Li, Zhi, and Xin for baring witness against his father.


Those virtues entail sacrificing animals and exacting vengeance against anyone who would harm your family.

There is nothing Buddhist about that.


I can agree with you on this:

Huseng wrote:
On the surface a lot of Confucian ideas like the five constant virtues 五常 (benevolence 仁, justice 義, propriety 禮, wisdom 智, and trust 信) are quite compatible with Buddhist ethics, though going beyond that there are a lot of incompatibilities.



However, I don't know enough about Confucian teachings to make criticisms. I would have to investigate in depth before making any generalizations. I can tell you that the Old Testament Bible talks about vengeance often, but I don't think a true Christian would practice that. Also not to overlook the 5 virtues of Confucianism since it's very compatible with the 5 Buddhist precepts. One must wonder why Mahayana has been doing so well in China; to me, it's the basic teaching of humanism from Confucianism and Taoism.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Linjii
―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 2367
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: Piety, Filial Piety, Pietas and the Third Pure Precept

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:26 pm

LastLegend wrote:However, I don't know enough about Confucian teachings to make criticisms.


The key text in Confucian thought is actually the Liji 禮記:

http://ctext.org/liji

You find prescriptions for animal sacrifice, violence and other such gruesome behaviours. It is entirely incompatible with Buddhism.


I would have to investigate in depth before making any generalizations. I can tell you that the Old Testament Bible talks about vengeance often, but I don't think a true Christian would practice that. Also not to overlook the 5 virtues of Confucianism since it's very compatible with the 5 Buddhist precepts. One must wonder why Mahayana has been doing so well in China; to me, it's the basic teaching of humanism from Confucianism and Taoism.


It would be problematic to say that Confucianism has always been the mainstream ideology of China. Depending on the time period at times it was Mahāyāna Buddhism that held greater sway. After the Song Dynasty onward especially Confucianism picked up momentum again, though before that for a thousand years a lot of people in China, I imagine, had little to do with Confucian texts as they were either illiterate or just had less interest than in Buddhist works. In the Tang Dynasty the state was often more interested in Daoism than Confucianism and Buddhism. Before that for several centuries Buddhism was very mainstream at all levels of society.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5972
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Taiwan

Next

Return to Mahāyāna Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests

>